In any industry, smart business deals can lead to unrivalled success, and the NBA is no different. When teams at the very top of the basketball scene in America decide to trade a player, often the deal can work out positively, strengthening both parties. However, as any NBA fan knows, some of these trades have gone on to prove spectacularly one sided, with a player not ranked at his former side going on to be a star-man once traded, or vice-versa.
As such, here are some of the worst NBA trades we’ve seen over recent years.
Nets miss out on Lillard
If The Brooklynn Nets have a reputation for bad business acumen, then they hardly helped dispel the myth back in 2012. A year prior to the infamous trade dealings with the Boston Celtics, the Nets made another slip up over future NBA Rookie of the Year Damien Lillard. Shortly before the 2012 deadline, the Nets moved in for Gerald Wallace of the Portland Trail Blazers, with Lillard barely registering on their radar, as the Nets took a dim view of the draft class. Portland of course went on to snatch Lillard in the corresponding pick, and the five-time All-Star has certainly made the Nets rue their mistake.
Cavs lose point-guard prowess
Even with the legendary powers of LeBron James at the franchise, life was always going to be difficult for the Cleveland Cavaliers after championship-winning point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade. Not content to play under James’s shadow, Irving found his way to the Celtics in July 2017, where he could establish himself as more of a main man. In return, Cleveland acquired a motley-crew of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic as well as Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick. Whilst All-Star Irving went from strength to strength at the Celtics, Crowder and the injury plagued Crowder didn’t last a calendar year at the Cavs.
According to most trusted NBA picks and parlays the Cavs aren’t fairing much better this season either, with the odds of them winning the NBA finals abysmal. Cavs fans will be hoping for some quality trades this time around.
Pistons shoot themselves in the foot
It’s often said you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and the Detroit Pistons certainly learnt this adage the hard way in the 2008-2009 season. After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row, the Pistons hedged their future success on Allen Iverson of the Denver Nuggets, trading away long-time servant Chauncey Billups in return. Following the point-guard’s departure, the Pistons endured a torrid season, and failed to reach the play-offs for the next seven years. It just goes to show that the grass isn’t always greener.
Houston has a problem
Following teething problems between Houston Rockets new head coach Kevin McHale and Kyle Lowry, the Rockets traded the point-guard away to the Toronto Raptors in 2012. Since his departure, Lowry has gone on to become a six-time All-Star, and in 2019 helped the Raptors to their first Championship.
Bargnani struggles in New York
Italian Andrea Bargnani missed a good portion of the 2012-2013 season through injury, however the Knicks decided to prize him away from Toronto anyway. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 7ft man-mountain continued to struggle with injuries, playing just 71 times in his two-season stint at the Knicks before moving across the city to Brooklyn in 2015.